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Dan Flynn writes in Online Opinion on abortion and Saturday's March for the Babies
· October 14, 2012 11:00 AM
ACL's Victorian Director Dan Flynn has had an opinion piece published in Online Opinion entitled
Not marching for baby fish.
The March for the Babies event held in Melbourne over the weekend was a visual demonstration that Victoria's abortion laws are out of step with community sentiment - there was a huge turnout of almost 4,000 people who marched for the right to life of every child.
You can read Mr Flynn's article via the link above, or see below for a copy.
Thousands of Victorians marched through Melbourne's CBD on Saturday. Why? Who needs their protection?
This month snapper commence their annual migration into Port Philip Bay. These fish are highly prized by recreational anglers and in accordance with sustainable fisheries priorities Fisheries Officers will enforce size limits to protect juvenile fish.
If you are caught taking or being in possession of an undersized snapper it will be returned to the water and you can expect an infringement notice. If your offending involves numerous undersized fish, they will be returned to the water and you can expect to be charged, face court and be fined or worse. Something in a previous life I was employed to ensure.
Tragically, unborn babies in Victoria are not afforded the same protection as our undersized fish.
In 2007, the then Premier John Brumby announced that Victoria's abortion laws were "out of step with community sentiment" and he commenced a process that lead to the liberalisation of abortion law.
The Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 now provides that abortion may be performed by a medical practitioner up to twenty four weeks without reference to any criteria. Abortion after twenty four weeks and up until the moment of birth, can be performed after confirmation by any two medical practitioners that the abortion is appropriate, having regard to all relevant medical circumstances and the women's current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances.
These provisions have created an environment of abortion on request. It is estimated, based on Medicare statistics that approximately 20,000 abortions occur in Victoria each year.
The 2009 Annual Report of the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM) released in June 2012 reveals that from a total of 410 post twenty week abortions, 210 were performed on babies without physical defects, including ten undertaken after twenty eight weeks. Children at this stage of gestation are certainly capable of surviving outside the womb.
The 2010 report of CCOPMM revealed 345 late-term babies were killed in 2007 and that fifty four of them were still alive after the abortion procedure.
This lead then MLC Peter Kavanagh to try to set up an investigation into the cases of the fifty four babies who survived their abortion and were subsequently left to die. The questions he wanted answered related to what efforts were made to ensure those children had the best possible healthcare and opportunity to live. The motion was defeated. Mr Kavanagh was described in Parliament as "disgusting" for even raising the issue.
However, when the federal Parliamentary Group on Population and Development told a Senate Inquiry in 2008 that public funding of abortion was needed because the birth of babies with disabilities would be a burden on the budget, it is hard to expect much sympathy for the situation of the unborn in certain sections of our parliaments.
Fortunately for those who do not understand the importance and relevance of this issue a documentary will be released next month entitled "The Voice of John". This film will discuss the reality of babies born alive after abortions. In The Voice of John the humanity of the unborn will be made real -"one small voice will speak for millions."
Public sentiment is moving away from abortion as the answer to unexpected and initially unwanted pregnancies or crisis pregnancies as they're called. Financial support, medical treatment, accommodation and care are now commonly being identified as better solutions.
Fuller analysis of why women have abortions may uncover options that make provision for mother and child to co-exist and prosper.
In submissions to a Victorian Parliamentary review of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights in July 2011, the Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart and the bishops of Ballarat and Sale, argued that the Charter gave "inadequate protection for the right to life, including the right to life of the child before birth".
This deep concern of the Church for the unborn was reflected again in a speech by Archbishop Dr Peter Jensen last week, when he said: "What sort of society is it that kills 100,000 children in the womb each year?"
The estimated 3,500 Victorians who marched through the Melbourne CBD on Saturday to marked the 4th anniversary of the introduction of the Abortion Law Reform Act called for a change of culture and legislation. They marched for numerous reasons, including compassion for the women whose children have been aborted; women who have been failed by society in the provision of practical and emotional assistance.
The March was a peaceful witness to life and a visual demonstration that Victoria's abortion laws are "out of step with community sentiment", that surely values the life of a child over a fish.
MR: Dangerous effects of RU486 being ignored by Parliament as those advocating for right to life labelled ‘anti-women’
· October 10, 2012 11:00 AM
For release: Wednesday 10 October 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has renewed its call for the evidence about the harms to women of the chemical abortion drug RU486 to be considered in light of a speech being made by Health Minister Tanya Plibersek today promoting the drug.
ACL spokeswoman Wendy Francis has expressed concern that both political parties are ignoring the evidence about the safety of RU486.
“It is imperative that our government take into consideration the hundreds of women who have suffered major health issues after taking this drug,” Ms Francis said.
In response to a question by Senator Boswell, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
told the Senate
earlier this year that since the drug was approved under the Authorised Provider Scheme in April 2006, there had been 832 reports of “adverse events” to women prescribed the drug.
“Of the 832 women, 599 required surgery to remove the poisoned embryo after the failure of the drug to induce a miscarriage.
“In 2010, a Melbourne woman tragically died after taking RU486. We need to ensure there is a coronial investigation into this tragedy before any licences are granted.
“Women facing unsupported pregnancies should not be given a dangerous chemical to poison them and their unborn child – they should be offered real choices, including the option of support for keeping their unborn child,” Ms Francis said.
ACL is alarmed that Ms Plibersek has associated herself with the Parliamentary Group on Population and Development – the host of today’s event – which holds extreme views about aborting the disabled to save money from the disability services budget (see their
to Senate Standing Committee, p. 10).
ACL is also concerned that the abortion debate has been dragged into the unseemly debate about sexism and misogyny in the Parliament.
“For Tony Abbott or any other person to be shut down in this debate about the health of women and life of unborn children and be labelled as ‘anti-women’ is a suppression of free debate,” Ms Francis said.
After birth abortion' a dangerous idea
· September 27, 2012 10:00 AM
The Spectator magazine this week published an article titled "
A dangerous idea: The argument that 'after-birth abortions' are justifiable should concern us all."
Author Dean Bertram argues that Australia must rethink its stance on abortion after bio-ethicists have claimed that parents should be allowed to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born. Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva argue that newborn babies are not "actual person" and thus do not have a "moral right to life."
Giubilini and Minerva will be speaking this weekend at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney on 'A Foetus is Not a Person.' Bertram explores the danger in the ethicists' belief that after-birth abortion is just an extension of the already widely accepted practice of abortion, and makes a case for Australia to stand up for the right to life of
people; foetuses, newborns, the mentally and physically disabled. He asks us to examine the possible consequences for our society when life is no longer held sacred.
For more information and to read Bertram's article, click
The danger of Savulescu's genetic screening argument
· August 29, 2012 10:00 AM
Wednesday, 29 August, 2012
Last week, well-known philosopher and bioethicist Julian Savulescu caused a stir in the United Kingdom when he suggested that we have a “moral obligation” to create so-called designer babies using genetic screening. According to Savulescu – who made his comments in the latest edition of Reader’s Digest - doing so would cause children to grow up “ethically better.” He also believes that giving parents the opportunity to screen out personality flaws would produce offspring less likely to harm themselves and others.
Aside from the basic moral and ethical dilemmas this logic presents – the human desire to play ‘god’, for instance – the consequences of a genetically modified society would be disastrous.
There are a number of critical problems in Savulescu’s thinking:
Savulescu contradicts himself; on the one hand, he describes genetic screening as a “moral obligation” for our society whilst on the other, he advocates for it to be voluntary. In his article, he states that it would be different to the eugenics movements the Nazis use because the nature of it would be voluntary.
system Savulescu suggests is a problem in itself. Allowing a system of voluntary genetic modification creates a future divided society and the prospect of a new and more serious form of segregation based on genotype. Not only would it discourage a person to be themselves, it would deflate the idea of being a unique individual. It would cause a significant rift between those who can afford genetic modification and those who cannot. If society embraces the choice for genetic screening, it will normalise the process. This would mean that should parents decide not to comply, they would be regarded as ‘abnormal,’ and will thus result in a dreadful cultural norm.
He states that by screening in and screening out certain genes in the embryos, it should be possible to influence how a child turns out. The process of genetic screening as identified by Savulescu has no influence on how a child turns out. Rather, it discards the embryos that we do not like and keeps the ones we do. In an interview with the Australian Christian Lobby, Dr Greg Pike, a bioethicist from Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, said that there is one fundamental problem underlying Savulescu’s thinking: genes are influential in determining physical traits such as eye colour, but it is extremely difficult to connect a person’s genes to behaviours such as violence.
It is significant to also note that although Savulescu has stated he opposes legalising infanticide – killing a baby within one year of birth – he defended a controversial article published earlier in the year by two of his colleagues in the
Journal of Medical Ethics
(he is the editor of the publication) which contended that newborn babies are not “actual persons” and parents should have the right to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born. Peter Singer, a renowned ethicist and philosopher, holds similar beliefs. He argues that persons with very severe disabilities have a lesser right to life and believes that because of this, parents should be able to choose before or after birth whether they want their child to live or die.
It is important to question where this agenda and type of thinking is headed. If genetically modifying unborn children becomes the norm in society, we are essentially allowing ourselves to tamper with what is inherently natural. We are cleaning up the human gene pool of all the ‘bad stuff,’ making judgements on whom we want around and who we would rather be rid of. This mentality goes against the very core moral conscience of humanity. If we are allowing our medical professionals to tamper with human life, to abort our unborn children, or kill them even when they are born, what is next? Will we allow doctors to kill any person, young or old, with a disability, and then get punished for it if we do not comply? We cannot allow such dangerous thinking to remain uncontested and take root in society’s moral and ethical behaviour patterns.
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